On Wednesday, it was announced in Washington that a new group, The Future of Privacy Forum, had been formed. The group, initially funded by AT&T, was founded by Jules Polonetsky and Christopher Wolf. Polonetsky is the former chief privacy officer of AOL and prior to that DoubleClick, and Wolf is a partner in Proskauer Rose, and has represented AT&T on privacy law matters.
It is the hope of Mr. Polonetsky that The Future of Privacy Forum will locate a happy medium in the space between businesses that do not want privacy restrictions on what they do with consumer data and the many privacy advocates who want to see permission given for data used.
The Future Privacy Forum has an impressive agenda. Items on the agenda include having websites be much more upfront with users about methods they use to collect and use the personal data they collect, as opposed to hiding behind cryptic privacy policies. The forum also hopes to create new technology that will make it simple for users to communicate their preferences on what data is used about them, rather than relying on browser cookies,which can be difficult to control and easy to erase. They hope to strategically define how companies need to be careful with personal information about people, including what they search for, or how many children they have-even if no names are collected in the process.
Speculation about The Future of Privacy Forum among other companies include that it is a business group attempting to block new government intervention in the advertising business (think Google & Yahoo’s ad fate), still others see it as a slice of a growing attempt to prevent Google from gaining any further influence than it already has. Microsoft in particular has been lobbying in Washington about privacy, a topic it views as Google’s jugular.
It is important to note that Google uses less personal data than many other internet-based companies use, and has acquired DoubleClick, which will surely add to its advertising ventures for the future. Not to mention the idea that AT&T may be feeling a bit threatened by Google’s views on open access to wireless networks and network neutrality, which could undercut AT&T’s ability to profit from its own network and allow Google full access.
The online mogul battles wage on, and things are lined up to become more and more complex in the near future before agreements are settled upon. Brought to you by Blue Interactive Agency, your integrated social media marketing and web design firm in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.